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Free Pet Ideas

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A while back I wrote a little post on two then-promising pets I had just purchased who I was sure were going to not only brighten my life but provide me with calm, unwavering companionship in dire times.

What ended up happening to Trent and Eileen is a sad story. Trent was always a little fragile, Eileen always anxious. Trent’s condition – something having to do with his swim bladder, I’m guessing – meant he was always swimming kind of sideways and spasmodically while Eileen worriedly scurried (as much as a fish can scurry) beneath him, giving him an occasional prod when he looked grimly stationary.

Trent went first, and Eileen followed a few days later. They were good souls, but they weren’t much in the way of pets. We just never really connected as much as I had hoped for. Then again, I spent like ten dollars on them. So I couldn’t have expected too much, right?

Wrong. Fortunately, there are tons of opportunities for a cheap pet out there, and not the kind that gets you slapped, either. We had a sweet post a little bit ago about weird and inexpensive pets – consider this an extended version, centered upon FREE friends. Just a few ideas:

1. Golden Gate Park’s bison. They’ve been around for a long time, in various incarnations, and while they never look entirely happy, they’re still fucking huge and symbols of the American West. And FREE!

2. Mice and rats. Catch ‘em yourself . They’ll last way longer than goldfish and give you a hell of a lot more warmth and affection, if you catch them nicely.

3. Window spiders. I’m lucky to have a zoo in my windowpanes, and let me tell you, it’s a spider-eat-fly world. These guys are ruthless and provide minutes, nay, hours of entertainment. What’s especially fun is standing behind the little guys so that they look like they’re climbing on big San Francisco monuments in the background.

4.Dust bunnies. They’re not real bunnies, but they sure do multiply like ‘em.

5. Friends’ pets. Volunteer to cat or dog sit and you’ve got yourself a bonified fuzzball for a week or two.

6. Sandcrabs. The baby crustaceans at Ocean Beach might not be the best guys to take home, but they’ll give you some loving on the sand. If you want to be the guy ecstatically rolling around in oncoming ways.


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Lucy Schiller - Destitute Dispatcher

Lucy Schiller - Destitute Dispatcher

Lucy's been able to live lots of places but holds her cornfed/pie-fueled Midwestern roots most dear, maintaining too loudly and too often that the Outer Richmond is the Midwest of SF: driven through to get elsewhere and knocked around for no reason (but what other neighborhood has bison?!). You can find Lucy letting things languish in her fridge, purposefully (limoncello!) or not (yogurt...), mouthbreathing, scouring Golden Gate Park for apartment-worthy items, sleepily serving up double nonfat half-caf-half-non-caf lattes at a certain cafe, skulking in various other ones, and yelling under cover of night and costume at SF Bike Party.

1 Comment

  1. Jeffrey C. Anthony
    December 5, 2011 at 1:38 pm — Reply

    So after hearing other people tell me that they have various animals as substitutes for having kids…

    I’m wondering if there’s a way (probably could write a book on this) to have kids on the free, they make great pets, and future slave labor. If you make under a certain amount, the medical care is free, if you garden and raise animals the food is free, if you sew and bargain well, the clothes are cheap to free… And they learn more words than parrots.

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